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What is a Test Case in Software Testing?

Anna Khrupa by Anna Khrupa on 05/4/2022

What is a Test Case in Software Testing?

A test case defines how to check software or an application. Testers use a group of instructions to perform actions that validate certain aspects of an application or product use. Unsuccessful tests imply a software defect that must be fixed.

The tester writes test cases that are run after a feature or a collection of features is released. The test case additionally checks if the product meets its requirements.

Several test cases are organized in a suite that checks a logical segment of the software.

How to make test cases in software testing

Test cases are determined by what is getting measured or checked. However, all cases begin with understanding how to write a test case properly. There are integral sections that must be present, but each test case can be split into the following steps.

  • Test case ID

Each test case must have a unique ID — the uniqueness assists with planning, clarity, and understanding.

  • Description

The details in the description include:

  • Feature
  • Unit
  • Function

The above details are for the parts getting tested.

  • Assumptions and pre-conditions 

This step comprises the conditions that need to be met before executing a test case. For example, it could be the need for an active Outlook account for signing in.

  • Data 

Data entails the variables and their values. Still, in the email example, the data needed will be a username and a password.

  • Steps

The steps here should be easy for a user to repeat. For example, the test case for signing into the email server can include:

  1. Open the email website
  2. Enter the username
  3. Enter the password
  4. Click the login icon
  • Possible result

This step entails the expected outcome when the test case gets executed. The result should be a successful login once you enter the correct login data.

  • Real result and post-conditions

It is possible to know the test case status compared to the likely outcome. For the email login example, a customer can be logged in or be unsuccessful. 

The post-condition is the occurrences resulting from the step execution; for instance, getting redirected to the mail inbox.

  • Success or failure

Success or failure is determined by how the expected outcome and the actual outcome compare. If the results are the same, that is a success. If they differ, then it is a failure.

 Top reasons why we write test cases in software testing

Writing a test case on software testing aims to validate the software test coverage. Writing ensures standardization and reduces the ad hoc approach in testing.

A test case defines what should be done to test the system, including the executed steps, the data entered, and the expected outcome.

Through test cases, developers find errors that might have transpired during the development stage or things that might have been skipped during tests.

 A good test case has the following advantages:

  • Comprehensive test coverage
  • Minimized maintenance and software support fees
  • Having a test case that can be used again
  • Ensuring that software meets customer needs
  • Enhancing  software quality and customer experience
  • Best quality product ensuring user satisfaction
  • More happy clients increasing company profits

Generally, using a test case can lead to company optimization. Customers will be happy with the service. There will be higher client retention, the charges for services and products can be reduced, and better products will be created. The benefits improve the brand’s reputation.

The test case software example

Before preparing a test case, the tester must know the scope and goal. This step entails knowing the system components and customer requirements and even determining the conditions that should get tested.

The next step is to define the way software testing operations take place. It begins with determining practical test case scenarios or functions that should be checked. So, the tester needs to understand the system’s functional requirements.

Upon determining the test case scenarios, the non-functional expectations should also be identified. They include the following:

  • Safety features
  • Operating systems
  • Hardware specifications

It is also vital to point out the test prerequisites.

The step that follows is defining the case framework. A test case checks the following:

  • Compatibility
  • Functionality
  • User interface
  • Various elements’ performance
  • Fault tolerance 

After completing all the above steps, a tester can write the test case.

What is a good test case in software testing: Example of a perfect test case

A test case can be created to reflect the software features and uses getting checked altogether. A tester has to write test cases, allowing one thing to be analyzed at a time. 

The test case language should not be complicated. It must also be active and not passive. It is vital to ensure consistency when giving names to elements.

Below is a list of test case components and their descriptions:

  • Name: The feature getting tested.
  • ID: A tester uses an alphanumeric or numeric identifier to categorize test cases into suites.
  • Description: It is an explanation of what the test will verify. It can be written in one or two sentences.
  • References: These are links to customer stories, design requirements, or things the test will confirm.
  • Prerequisites: These are the conditions for a tester to carry out the test.
  • Test setup: This component identifies the things a test case requires to function efficiently. They include the software version, OS, time, date, and security specifications.
  • Test procedure: This is an extensive explanation of what actions will enable a tester to finish a test.
  • Expected outcome: It is a summary of the way the system will behave in every step.

Conclusion 

This article has described a test case and how to write it effectively. The writing activity can get streamlined over time. The best practices include improving what was mentioned in the article. It comprises having effective titles, clear descriptions, and using simple language. Preconditions, assumptions, and expected outcomes should be included as well. All those details are essential for the software tester, especially when checking whether the test case is a pass or a fail.

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